You Can't Have It Both Ways
Tuesday's episode of "Merv
Griffin's Crosswords" featured good friend and fellow GSNNer Joe "The Game Show
Man" Van Ginkel in the role of one of the crossword solvers, with a shot at
thousands of dollars in cash money, not to mention his second 30 minutes on
I would've totally forgotten to
record it had I not remembered that the day prior that WRDC, the My Network TV
affiliate out of Raleigh, moved it and "Temptation" from a cushy 10a hour to a
less cushy 4a hour on sister station WLFL, a CW station (both stations, owned by
Sinclair Broadcast Group, rank #6 and #5 respectively), right in time for
another spectacular show... the sunrise.
At least in my market, one of
the top 30 in the nation that is apparently lauded for picking up "Crosswords"
for a second season, it's a trade-off of the frying pan for the fire.
My cohort in crime Gordon also
had a move of the show, where it airs on the NBC flagship. It started the season
at 4p, where it regularly got clobbered by Oprah. When 2008 dawned, it was moved
to 11:30p, where it regularly got clobbered by both "The View" and The Drew.
Not a proud moment for a show
that Program Partners assured was on tap for another season.
Going back to my market for a
moment, which echoes a concern that is shared by fans of "Crosswords" and
die-hard followers of "Temptation" (all nine of you). It seems that we're trying
to be sold the fantasy that "Crosswords" is holding steady, when the show has
not yet broken the 1.0 mark.
As much as I like Crosswords
and am willing to tolerate Temptation, the show is, to relate it back to
Carolina backroads at four in the morning, a carcass on the ground. Sure it
tends to move around a bit after a few SUVs plow throughout, but it's still a
carcass. Nowhere can it best be proven than with the case of the latter. A
Wikipedia entry cites that it has been given the go-ahead for a second season,
but there has not been a piece of news from an industry source that has either
confirmed or disproved this notion.
To put things in a personal
prospective, the last time a show was put DEEP within the early morning was
"Card Sharks" back in 2001. The last time a show was mysteriously replaced by
another show in the same slot was "The New Price Is Right" in 1995. Both of them
were gone by March. And the last show that was "promised" a new season only to
be cancelled a short time later... 1998's "Match Game". Though the show
presumably placed dead last for that season, it surprisingly kept its noontime
slot in Raleigh, so at least I had something to watch while I was eating lunch
my freshman year of college.
Perhaps it's the new thinking
in Hollywood these days, as demonstrated in a column I came across the other
day. The title was "Flat Is the New Up".
Taken from the article...
“Syndication is actually remarkably stable and
should be getting more attention than it’s getting from advertisers,” said
Garnett Losak, VP and director of programming at Petry Media. “While the
also-rans continue to be also-rans in daytime lineups, the heavy hitters
continue to provide some of the most consistent audiences in all of television.
A network program that lasted as long as some of the syndication shows would be
hailed as a classic.
-from TV Week:
Let's keep it real here. When a
show is moved to a slot where it can do no one any harm, then it's not
fashionable. It's not the new thinking. It's in dire trouble, and we're faced
with conflicting arguments. On one hand, you have the Program Partners camp
citing how unbelievably amazing the show is performing (so much as you can spin
that 60% of the country has given it "a firm-go").
On the other hand, you have
stations such as WNBC and WRDC shuttling the shows off to parts unknown (often
without warning). Add to that that two more promising entries, "Deal or No Deal"
from NBC Universal and "Trivial Pursuit: America Plays" from Debmar-Mercury, are
certain to get people talking in ways that they did this time last year when
"Crosswords" and "Temptation" were announced, and you can see that any argument
you can make for renewing the show (yes, even the one that says they're dirt
cheap to produce) is suspect.
You can't have it both ways.
You can't be "a big hit" that gets moved somewhere it won't do you any favors to
be a big hit.
The only conclusion we can come
to until summer is that uncertainty is the only certainty when you're talking
about two shows that right now just may be only a whisper away from
Game Show Alphabet Redux
I'm still waiting for any suggestions that you all
may have regarding the second Game Show Alphabet. If you want to get in on this,
just drop me a line. It's a good time. It should be starting soon.
25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World: Day 13
We're halfway into our no-particular-order
countdown. The next day spanned two days (four if you count the weekend), and
until fairly recently, only aired ONCE on television despite the show it
happened on rerunning from the time of its cancellation up until 1995. The basic
gist: unemployed ice-cream truck driver stays in and watches tape after tape of
"Press Your Luck", manages to secure an audition, and then go on the show. The
rest is game show history. Completely legal... Completely legit... game show
June 8 and June 11, 1984 - Michael Larsen Takes
Press Your Luck for $110,237
Anyone who follows Press Your Luck is aware of the
story and what happened afterwards. The 18 squares were preprogrammed for
several configurations of flashing lights. And whenever someone took a spin and
STOPPED the board, they got whatever they landed on. Michael Larsen determined
two things about the board. First, the patterns. Second, squares four and eight
(counting from the top left clockwise) always contained money.
Fat load of good that did him on his first spin. He
Whammied. It would be the first time he did so... and the last.
Larsen's run of the board lasted 47 spins and gave
the man over $100,000 in cash money, two trips, and one sailboat, awarded only
when head of CBS daytime Michael Brockman was threatened with a lawsuit.
Brockman decided that he was not going to pay someone whom he viewed as a
cheater. Larson counter-argued that what he did was no different than cracking
the books for Jeopardy!.
Unfortunately, through a series of ill investments
and bad karma, he lost most of it and died as penniless as the day he came to
Hollywood in 1984 for the show. But the effects go way past changing someone's
life. The suits at BS&P made certain that the incident would not happen again
when they made the show install new and more patterns to further randomize the
game as much as it should. A truly random board would not come until 18 years
later with the computerized Whammy board on GSN's revived "Whammy! The All-New
Press Your Luck".
Game show fans got to see the onslaught in its
entirety with the 2003 documentary "Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal",
after CBS and producer Bill Carruthers lifted a two-decade-long freeze on airing
the episodes. Even more so, the two challengers on that episode, Ed Long and
Janie Litras, came back on a special episode of "Whammy!" to take on Michael's
You can check out the Wikipedia entry here:
Chico Alexander stops at $750 and a spin. E-mail him